Daring to hope for some originality in the script for this, the fourth film in the series after ‘Jurassic Park’ (93), ‘The Lost World’ (97) and the less imaginatively titled ‘Jurassic Park 3’ (01), was perhaps asking for too much really, as the exact same storyline from the previous films is played out once again. Taking place twenty years after the events of the original, which was one of the most successful films of all time, we are back on the same island just off Costa Rica, which has long since put tragedy behind it and become the thriving titular theme park attraction of Jurassic World, where young and old alike can enjoy the thrill of watching real life dinosaurs tear chunks of flesh apart in a feeding frenzy, safe in the knowledge that Plexiglas and the best and brightest of human engineering and ordinance will protect them from the little beasties, or will it ….
Bryce Dallas Howard plays head park manager Claire Dearing with Chris Pratt as rugged animal trainer Owen Grady, who must save the day together but to be honest they seem more akin to a sixties version of Tarzan and Jane than believable characters in their environment (there is an obligatory potential budding romance between them). The impetus behind everything is super-dino Indominus Rex, which has been genetically modified and spliced with pretty much everything from an amoeba to a budgie to make it super intelligent and super scary, in fact it’s easily smarter than all of the humans in charge, but the story never properly gets past the fact that it’s still just one solitary and fairly sizeable creature (a T-Rex was in the mix, naturally) that ought to be pretty easy to sort out with all the hardware at the island’s disposal. The rest of the story is one massive fudge just to keep the decidedly carnivorous ball rolling, including a smaller and also not great arc involving Owen’s imprinting on a Velociraptor pack as its alpha. Difficult sell that one really, though it’s still a massive improvement on the bit in ‘The Lost World’ where the little girl drop-kicks a raptor in the face resulting in its complete annihilation, if memory serves.
The central characters are further rounded out by two kids Zach (Nick Robinson) and Grey (Ty Simpkins) who are even more two dimensional than the adults and seem to exist purely to be put in not very believable peril. They are, of course, the nieces of Ms Dearing and as such she wilfully abandons her duty to try and protect the many thousands of other people on the island to go chasing after them in the hope of avoiding many awkward Thanksgiving moments in the future, in fact nobody seems terribly concerned with the masses of visitors – not even the tourists themselves. Indeed, there’s no real bite, ahaha, to any of the suspense and too many parts of the story simply don’t add up. Films one and two were directed by Steven Spielberg, who was a producer for this one, but here relative newcomer Colin Trevorrow (‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ 2012) takes the helm and shares writing credits with Derek Connolly, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, although the four worked on multiple drafts over the years. The actors do the best they can with what they’re given (though I fear they didn’t exactly make the most of Irish hottie Katie McGrath’s talents) and although it’s largely disappointing, it still delivers on the spectacle front and the effects are worthy of the film. The best part is the theme tune from the first one.
The film’s release coincides with the announcement of a new dinosaur species found in Wales which is quite excitng, though they have yet to find any dragon fossils, largely because we are simply hiding amongst you all. Like in ‘Highlander’ (86), but with dragons. Our eyes are everywhere …